Christmas Ale - Barrel-Aged
Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Winter Warmer
Ranked #12
Ranked #6,191
4.22 | pDev: 9%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 33 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of CaptainHate
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery in a tulip. Color was the same as the standard Christmas ale, brownish maroon, with a nice off white head. Was typically served too cold which muted the smell but was nicely malty spiced with a slight barrel tinge but no booze. Taste was nice as the barrel effectively augmented the normal flavors with no bourbon detectable. Mouthfeel was appropriate for the style.

Great Lakes has an odd tendency for their barrel aged offerings to lose something when bottled so this was surely the ideal way to experience this.

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Photo of Djoneil
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught pint at The Brass Tap here in Baltimore on "tapping night" - its a little early in the season for me, but...Merry Christmas! (Must be the ale)

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Photo of a2001potodyssey
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely amazing beer. This was 1 day after the release day of 2019. The bourbon smell and taste are perfectly balanced with the spices and honey. The color is exactly what I expected. That amazing amber color of the christmas ale but with a little more brown from the barrels. I loved it. I wish I could have afforded more than 2 bottles!

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Photo of Drank
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Surprised how well the beer held up to barrel aging. 2016 version, so maybe a bit of oxidization. Barrel character was upfront, but malt was present nicely. Enjoyable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i know this is not a style that appeals to a lot of people, a spiced winter warmer type, but i really dig the good ones, and have always liked their chirstmas ale better than most others out there, so it was exciting to get to drink on the barrel aged edition. lots of whiskey on the nose to this deep crimson colored brew, almost brown now, and with a little less head and bubbling activity than i amused to in the original. the whiskey pulls out other spice and fruit elements to this and carries them to different lengths here, the most obvious synergy to me is with the cinnamon, it seems to love the wood and the sweet whiskey, and i notice that spice more than i have in the past. i think clove and anise notes also rise with the spirit. the malt is sweet, and the vanilla element from the barrel only seems to exacerbate some of that sweetness, almost like a belgian quad or something with the grains, layered and complex, with raisin and fig elements, even dried cherry or cranberry in here as well. alcoholic but not arrestingly so, its about where it should be for a beer literally designed to warm us up in the cold months and around the holidays. perhaps this is a little old, a touch of oxidation creeping in, but it doesnt bother me, almost like a good english barleywine, its almost better with that aspect. a good twist on a seasonal classic here, one of the first barrel aged beers i have had from great lakes, and definitely near the head of its class in terms of style.

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Photo of BB1313
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

32oz growler filled at Heinen's in Strongsville, Ohio

Growler poured into a tulip. Pours a light amber with nice clarity; fluffy off-white head that fades leaving nice retention and okay lacing. The aromas are very nice, but the bourbon is almost nonexistent. It smells just like your regular Christmas Ale. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger lead the way along with some hints of vanilla and caramel. There's also some spruce in the mix. Malts do their thing. The flavors follow the nose, but the bourbon becomes a bit more noticeable. The spices shine. The bourbon isn't overwhelming, but comes through in the finish giving it a subtle warmth. It drinks bigger than the base beer, but it's nothing to worry about. It's not hot or boozy and the alcohol is well hidden, but it's very bold. It's balanced, but definitely dangerously drinkable. Mouthfeel is great. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's fluffy and smooth. Once again, it's dangerously drinkable.

This is a great brew. I do wish the bourbon shined a bit more, but it still gives this one some character. It's basically an amped up version of the original. Very enjoyable stuff. I'm very impressed on how everything is balanced but bold and simply on point. I feel like I might possibly be overraating it numerically, but man the craftsmanship is on point and I'm really liking this. I've never had it bottled, for what it's worth.

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Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Came in a goblet a clear lighter amber shade with a thin minimal head atop.Bourbon soaked dark fruits and vanilla stand out in the nose along with ginger and nutmeg,the ginger really shows thru.Flavors are like that of a bourbon soaked fruit cake,very fruity with a good amount of ginger and clove spice none of wich overpowers the other.The alcohol isn't well hidden but the flavors are not one sided,the bourbon barrel flavors don't hit ya over the head.A great beer.

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Photo of barczar
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aroma is slightly spicy, with caramel and vanilla from the bourbon balancing well.

Flavor is more spice dominant, with cinnamon, ginger, and clove and a caramel sweet backbone.

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Photo of cuyler3329
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had it in a tulip glass at a well respected establishment in Chicago.
It was a dark amber color with very little head. There was a slight waft of bourbon but mostly malt and some clove. The bourbon was not that strong of a flavor note so it did not dominate the honey, spices, or malt in the standard version. It finished quite clean and did not linger so I wanted to have another sip. Overall a very good version of the seasonal beer.

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Photo of gobuccos
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I ill admit I am not the biggest fan of regular Christmas ale. This is well done. Smell is a hint of bourbon and spices. Taste is a mix of spices, vanilla and a bourbon backbone. So glad I stood line at the brewery. Well done Great Lakes!!

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Christmas Ale - Barrel-Aged from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 33 ratings